Horizon 2020 SME Instrument

Horizon 2020 SME instrument

The SME instrument is a funding scheme for innovative European Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The funding of 50 000 € (Phase 1) or up to 2,5 million € (Phase 2) aims to boost SMEs with disruptive business innovations that have potential for high growth and internationalisation. More than 350 million euros of funding was made available for the SME instrument during the year 2016, under topics that cover almost any industry.

SME instrument: Phases 1, 2 and 3

Horizon 2020 SME instrument has a structure of three phases, each phase covering a different stage of the innovation cycle.

Phase 1: Concept & Feasibility Assessment
The Phase 1 is a proof-of-concept study assessing the feasibility and market potential of new ideas. The EU provides a grant of €50,000 for an assessment of no longer than 6 months.

Phase 2: R&D, Demonstration and Market Replication
Phase 2 funding supports R&I activities with the focus on commercial potential demonstrative activities, such as scale-up, piloting, performance verification, and testing. The proposal must present an excellent strategic business plan. The SME instrument phase 2 funding will cover up to 70 % of eligible project costs, from €0.5 up to €2.5 million or more, for a duration of 1 to 2 years.

Phase 3: Commercialisation
In the third phase, the SME receives support in polishing the project to a marketable project. The support is provided in the form of services such as networking, training, and access to coaching and mentoring. The EU will not provide any additional direct funding in the third phase.

2018 deadlines

Phase 1

  • February 08
  • May 03
  • September 05
  • November 07


  • January 10
  • March 14
  • May 23
  • October 10

As it is possible that the available funding runs off towards the end of the year, it is advised to apply as early during the year as possible.

Our references

Spinverse has been able to help SMEs to succeed in their innovation activities with successful Horizon 2020 SME instrument grant proposals. Up to May 2016, we have helped our customers get more than 70 M€ from the H2020 programme.

To learn more, see our SME case references and contact us for more information about the opportunities for you.

Subscribe to our newsletter